Exhibition Compares Architectural Methods

September 27th, 2002 by Adam

A new exhibition, “Educating the Masses: A Process,” a project of the Karl Drerup Art Gallery and Exhibitions Program at Plymouth State College, will explore the processes used by Mitchell/Giurgola Architects of New York, in the redesign of two college science buildings, 25 years apart.

The exhibition will be held from October 9 through December 11 at the Silver Cultural Arts Center, on Main Street in downtown Plymouth. An opening reception is scheduled from 4-6 p.m. October 9.

The exhibition utilizes architectural drawings and renderings from the redesign of the Sherman Fairchild Center for the Life Sciences at Columbia University in New York City in the 1970s, and a current project, Boyd Hall at Plymouth State College. These redesign and renovation projects offered opportunities to enhance aesthetics, modernize laboratories and organize movement in and around the buildings.

Boyd Hall at PSC.

Both designs were transformed from structures that exemplified the decline of the International Style, buildings which so ignored their surroundings that they could conceivably be built anywhere in the world, to high-quality working environments that contribute to campus life on many levels.

Catherine Amidon, director of exhibitions at Plymouth State and co-curator of the exhibition says, “The striking difference in the two is the process the architects were engaged in during the redesign.” The Sherman Fairchild Center was redesigned before architectural firms adopted computer-aided design. “The presence of the hand of the architect is seen in the exquisite drawings of Romaldo Giurgola.”

Today, Mitchell/Giurgola uses both methodologies in their design process. Amidon explains, “In an age where the digital hand has become the dominant design tool in many firms, Mitchell/Giurgola continues to develop designs using hand sketches and physical models, as well as computer simulations.” She says, “The way the architectural design team now interfaces the practice of hand drawing with the use of computer technology offers striking insights into how the computer is affecting our visual and kinesthetic relationships to architecture.”

Charles Linn FAIA, senior editor of Architectural Record, co-curated the exhibition and will lecture at 7 p.m. October 9 in the Smith Recital Hall. Viewing hours for the exhibition are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Friday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.; weekends noon – 6 p.m.; and during performances. The building is closed on holidays and PSC vacations.

For information, contact Catherine Amidon at
(603)535-2614 or via e-mail to camidon@mail.plymouth.edu.